MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It has been three years since the Adkins got the news their son, Matthew Thompson Bolar, had been killed by an explosive device during his second tour in Iraq.
His parents say he was helping an Iraqi soldier to safety when an explosive device detonated in the ground near him.
"He scrambled him out to go and take him...get him back to medical care, and on the way, they hit him with an I-E-D," says Vernon Adkins.
Vernon and Anne Adkins say Bolar was in the Middle East because he volunteered to go so men with families wouldn't have to.
"Really proud thing, ya know. You ask him 'why you doing it? Are you doing this for you?' He said 'No, I'm doing this so other people might not have to go that have families. Somebody will do it for me one day,'" adds Adkins.
Little did he know, that day would never come.
And now the Adkins family is left with only the memory of their son and ceremonies like one at the state capitol.
The American Legion paid tribute to fallen heroes with a wreath laying service and moment of silence.
It's a time the Adkins family says helps them get through the tough days--a service to remember folks like Bolar--helping them remember one thing.
"It means he's not going to be forgotten. Just as we will never forget those men and women who gave everything," says Anne Adkins.
The Adkins say they've become friends with some of the men in their son's army unit.
In fact, they're so close some of them call the two "Mom and Dad".
Bolar received a true hero's burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.